The Animal Rescue League of Berks County is encouraging all pet owners in Berks County to make a plan to protect their pets in case they should become infected with COVID-19. With 11 presumptive cases reported in Pennsylvania, and more likely to come, many pet owners may find themselves suddenly sick and unable to care for their pets, or forced into quarantine without sufficient pet supplies. “Although we certainly hope that Berks County will not become an area where there’s a COVID-19 outbreak, we would like to remind people who are preparing their families and their homes for a potential quarantine to not forget their pets’ needs,” says Alexis Pagoulatos, executive director of the ARL. “Please take the time now to develop a plan just in the rare case your family and your pets are affected.”
The ARL is encouraging pet owners to do the following:
- Purchase extra food, litter, treats, medicines and any other necessities for your pets just in case you would need to self quarantine.
- Get your pets’ vaccines updated in case your pet would need to be boarded or stay with another family and their pets.
- Identify a family member, neighbor or friend who could care for your pet in case you would need to be hospitalized or would be too ill to care for your pet. Make sure you have a crate or carrier handy to transport your pet if needed.
- If your pet is medicated, make sure your emergency contact has written instructions noting your veterinarian’s name, contact information and dosage instructions.
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with his/her name or is microchipped in case he/she gets out and you are too ill to find him/her.
In addition to increasing and enhancing sanitization protocols at the shelter, such as daily cleaning of all doorknobs, light switches and commonly-touched surfaces, the ARL is asking all guests who come into the shelter to sanitize their hands upon entry to help protect guests, volunteers and staff. “We are putting plans in place just in case the ARL is affected,” says Pagoulatos, noting that leadership is drafting a number of contingency plans to care for animals in case large numbers of the staff would become debilitated or fosters would need to return animals. “Providing daily care and enrichment to our animals is of utmost importance, so we want to do what we can to ensure we’re keeping the shelter and workplace safe and operational for both animals and humans alike.”
The Animal Rescue League of Berks County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves nearly 5,000 animals per year and is the county’s only provider of animal cruelty and humane investigation. The organization’s full-service adoption center works to find responsible and loving homes for thousands of kittens, puppies, cats and dogs, as well as working/barn cats and other farm animals each year.